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The Dylan Ratigan Show

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America 15, Us 14, Plavix 7, Pentagon 5, Iraq 5, Delaware 5, Pelosi 4, Obama 4, Daniel Ellsberg 3, Bradley Manning 3, Dan 3, Afghanistan 3, China 3, Boehner 2, Barack Obama 2, New Bayer Am 2, Nate 2, Arne Duncan 2, Sarah Palin 2, California 2,
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  MSNBC    The Dylan Ratigan Show    News/Business. The day's most important  
   issues and breaking news stories. New.  

    September 14, 2010
    4:00 - 5:00pm EDT  

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almost have, almost, more show than we can handle. i'm excited about it. we're talking jobs. head of north america's largest deal producer, new core, a company run by a man who knows what it will take for companies to create jobs in this county tr. it's his job. meanwhile on this day when the president talked to america's school kids, we'll hear from ar any duncan about our country's separate school districts. the opportunity gap. can they close it? and with news that wiki is about to release a massive cash of war documents. we thought it was a good time to talk truth, lies and transparency with daniel else berg. plus, the debut of our special election panel. moving today from primaries to the general election, will the
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tea party continue to cause headaches for the gop? the show starts right now. well, in today's episode of job wars, how are you? president obama versus the gop leadership over the tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year. after flirting briefly with an idea of a truce, demanding they be extended. this mork morning the party's young guns -- >> half of small business income will have a huge tax increase in january. 70% of our jobs come from small businesses, so the last thing you want to do in an economy like this is have a big tax increase on small businesses. that is not good policy. >> that's almost correct. it's actually young businesses
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in america and growing businesses in america. not small businesses. i could point you to a liquor store where i grew up that hasn't hired in 30 years. young businesses. new businesses. growing businesses. not necessarily small businesses are the ones that create jobs. the policy in question, president obama's vow to extend tax cuts for families making less than 90,000 a year. only 3% of small businesses would feel any impact, but i believe the small business argument is a false argument. we need to be having a young business argument. the downside here is that either choice with the tax cuts will add to our enormously soaring
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debt. votes is all that matters, right? the question really is whether all this talk of tax cuts is missing the mark when it comes to the fundamental problem of driving investment and job creation in america. didn't hear any mention of china for instance. joining us now, a man who knows what it takes to create jobs in america. he is serving as one of the titans of business industry in our country. this is the largest manufacturer of steel products. 12,000 employees. and a meaningful voice in manufacturing with our administration in this country and the executive community. i think that's a long enough introduction, dan, right? >> pretty good. one small ad is 20,000, not 12. >> we would hate for the people to be talking layoffs when we're
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trying to create jobs. 20,000 it is. how do we create jobs in this country and how do we close the gap? >> the first thing we can do is try not to talk layoffs with your teammates. new core has not laid off in 27 years. you don't lay people off. i wish our government and public servants would pick a -- to what the private sector employees and then we could talk serious spending cuts along with tax cuts if they're necessary, but they're missing the point. they're both right and both all wrong. we can talk about tax cuts, spending cuts, but at the end of the day, there's a much bigger problem and we're not dealing
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with it. >> and what is that? >> we have a problem in this country that said -- and what have we got. one bubble after another. major debt driving. one bubble after the other. since the internet bubble. enron bubble. the dot com bubble. the real estate bubble. the banking, ponzi schemes. trying to create wealth from nothing. instead, we should be making and building things in this country. a major major reason why we're not successful in manufacturing and putting people back to work today and that's because we've ignored the issue of trade distorting practices that has gone on for 20 years. the last president to get it right was ronald reagan and nobody since has gotten it
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right. we have to do with the trade deficit, made up of energy and manufactured goods. when you talk in the energy, you need every resource available to us, wind rk solar, coal, oil and technology. we need that to get all the spending money, trade over seas over the last 20 years. the second thing is manufactured goods. we've got to start making these here. we've allowed china to practice major non-free trade distorting practices, currency manipulation, predatory practices to build up their economy. but the problem is not their building up theirs and doing it in a way to destroy our manufacturing sector and we need to get back to making things. we've got government policies that allowed that to happen.
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we need to have public-private partnershi partnerships like in world war ii, where the government facilitates the private sector and together, we drive success, drive job creation. instead of bickering while 25 plus million americans are out of work. >> there's a sense, dan, that you have a division because you have one portion of the economy that benefits to the distorted trade who are more profitable in some cases because of the distorted trade and then you have another portion of the economy that obviously you are a component of, that is saying allowing this to go on is destroying our ability to attract money to our country or create jobs in this county tr. how is a politician to reconcile those two forces? >> have to do what's right for america. what's right is putting
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american's back to work and policies that don't support that need to be reevaluated and there's nothing wrong with being a multinational company, nothing benefitting from global growth. we do that. the problem is we've allowed the distortions in trade to go so far they've become pred tear and destructive here at home and this is not just this president. this has been going on for over 20 years and it's time for us to get back to the point where we say to the world and china in particular, play by the rules you agreed to. when you joined the wcl and got favored nation trading status and if you don't, we're going to do what reagan did in 1985. pull the japanese and germans in and say rk back off, your currency should be valued by market forces, not by government. let it float, major evaluation and that's what happened and we
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had 20 years of strong economic growth after that. that's the only thing that's going to get america back to work. why did the stimulus package not work? because the money people got from that and spend went principally to buy foreign-made goods. we are so missing the boat, arguing about this trivial stuff. important in their own rights, tax debate is important. spending debate is important, but we are in the middle of a forest chopping in 20 different directions. we need a bold leader to head up our country. we need business loeaders to coe together -- economy, the american workforce and future generations of america and we've
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been doing that for over 20 years. >> dan, thank you so much for focusing the issue for us. the boss at new corp. and i apologize for the miscount on the head count. a pleasure to have the conversation. thank you for giving us a piece of your afternoon. coming up on the show, an sos for america. not for jobs this time, but for our schools. what president obama did and didn't say in his big speech to america's school children. right after this. yellowbook has always been good for business. but these days you need more than the book. you need website development, 1-on-1 marketing advice, search-engine marketing, and direct mail. yellowbook's got all of that. yellowbook360's got a whole spectrum of tools. tools that are going to spark some real connections.
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your future is in your hands. your life is what you make of it and nothing, absolutely nothing, is beyond your reach. >> president obama addressing students in philadelphia a short time ago, the president trying to motivate america's kids, but not talking about the state of our schools and the basic fact that so many need fixing, but the difference in the quality of it wasn't available to some of the children in the country is vastly different from that provided to others. in the past, arne duncan has talked to us about his to-do list -- where do we stand now? mr. duncan joining us live from the white house. welcome back, nice to see you. how are you judging the ability
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to close that opportunity gap? >> what we've seen is tremendous courage on the part of state governors around superintendents, local teachers, principals, people who work very hard. we have standards, the country we're going to stop gumming down standards, stop lying to children's families, telling them they're ready when they're not. secondly, we have 44 states working together to create better -- help us better evaluate student's strengths and weaknesses. i couldn't be more pleased by the progress we've seen. we're going to get where we need to go as a county tr. >> that's great news. when you look at the amount we spend and what we get for it, we spend a huge amount of money on education in this countrcountry. we don't get a good yield.
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we spend 41% more than an average developed democracy, but rank way down on variables. what do you attribute to the gap? >> well, i think we haven't focused on those building blocks that make a huge difference. we think much higher standards, better assessments, challengini parents and asking them to step up and be part of a solution. what's most important is getting a great teacher into every classroom. the magic in the classroom between student and teacher. >> let's talk about that. the other question, are we failing our teachers. are we not able to properly award the good ones and weed out the ones that are less effective and are we not treating it enough like a practice as a doctor would have a practice.
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you look at japan, australia, multiple times what we spend. how do you envision improving the teaching quality and experience? >> fundamentally, we have to elevate the profession. we have to recognize, reward and incentivise excellence. i think in education, we've been too reluctant to talk about this. we need to much better support those teachers who may not be world class yet, but mentor them. those teachers at the pom where it's not working, we have to do a much better job and move them on to other professions. >> i don't know we don't have the time to do this now, but i would love to have a further conversation on how it is all those whats get achieved. thank you for your time today. secretary arne duncan, among the
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contributors to our series which kicks off in a week from sunday. up next, does syrup by any other name taste as sweet? sounds kind of unhealthy to some people. they could change that. we're back after this. ♪ [ male announcer ] at ge capital, we're out there every day with clients like jetblue -- financing their fleet, sharing our expertise, and working with people who are changing the face of business in america. after 25 years in the aviation business, i kind of feel like if you're not having fun at what you do, then you've got the wrong job. my landing was better than yours. no, it wasn't. yes, it was. was not. yes, it was. what do you think? take one of the big ones out? nah.
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and carry on, please. the change is pending approval, but big corn is using their campaign and ads already. >> so, i started looking for answers from medical and nutrition experts and what i discovered is that whether it's corn sugar or cane sugar, your body can't tell the difference. sugar is sugar. >> maybe that means you shouldn't eat so much sugar. saying corn r syrup no more responsible for america's obesity. that's from a group that's paid to represent america's largest corn producers, two of which have spent over $2.6 million lobbying politicians this year. the industry receiving more than $75 billion in your money since 1995. with all that money changing hands and really, who cares if everybody gets fat and loses
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their teeth. at least we can all see government for sale. still ahead, news today that wiki is about to release another set of files on the iraq war. is wiki leaks itself a criminal enterprise? we'll talk about it, plus, we debut our special election panel, the e-team. talk about today's critical primary races from the data to the politics to the money. we got you covered. also, demonization in politician. a new ad casting nancy pelosi as the wicked witch. we'll be right back. interesting grooming.
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welcome back. another bombshell apparently to be dropped on the pentagon once again from wikileaks who will soon release massive field reports on the war in iraq. the file said to be three times larger than the file on afghanistan. manning's dilemma, similar to that by daniel ellsberg, who helped turn public opinion against the vietnam war by releasing a secret history of the war called the pentagon papers. it's the subject of a new documentary from pbs. >> it was the crime from the start, carried out by four presidents, as revealed in this study. and now, a fifth president was doing the same with no end in
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sight. >> daniel ellsberg, whatever his intelligence gave aid to the military. >> it's a pleasure to see you, mr. ellsberg. what is your perspective on your relationship between the military, the truth, the government and people today compared to 40 years ago? >> truth is not, truth to the public is not much of a consideration to the military. they have their job to do and telling the truth to the public is not part of it. the president, we like to think of as being a spokesperson to us, but ira stone was right when he said all government officials lie and nothing they say is to be believed. that doesn't mean everything they say is a lie, it does mean that nothing they say is to be taken as the last word. >> mark theesen talking about
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wikileaks. he says it is not a news organization, but a criminal enterprise. it's reason for existence is to obtain national security information and dismate it. these actions are a violation of a espionage act and constitute support for terrorism. >> that's a very serious charge under current administration and the laws. that could be regarded support -- right now, which i do, could lead to my being charged with that, i suppose, so maybe more charges are in my future. your clip from president nixon was hinting at, too, treason, when he says aid and comfort to the country. they're always accompanied by a phrase, levying war against the
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united states, adhering to its enemies, comma, and giving them aid and comfort, to say that bradley manning is adhering to its enemies is as absurd as to say i have adhered. nixon was careful not to call me a trader. this country was hounded by traders. every one of them a patriotic subject in 1774 and ready to be hanged in 1776 having learned loyalty to our freedoms. treason is narrowly defined because our founders have been accused of it. rightly so, and they didn't want it to be promiscuously handled. >> so where in that though is the compass when it comes to the handling of sensitive
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information regarding u.s. military activity overseas? >> i take comfort in the oath that bradley manning and every officer, every member of congress and government takes the same oath. actually, the officers take a little different oath. i as an officer in the marine corp. took the oath and was not an oath to the president or commander in chief. it's an oath to support and defend the constitution and when you see the constitution being flouted and ignored as was done in the lying in vietnam and lying us into the war in iraq, which was done in the same way, i would say that keeping that oath in mind means the time has come to take a personal risk and live up to that oath. when the president is lying or misleading the public in various ways, when your bosses are committing illegal acts as in
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warrantless wiretapping, then your duty really is to say, live up to the constitution and tell the truth. i wish i had done it years earlier than i actually did. >> so bradley manning could potentially fall into that category. >> certainly not. he's being called a trader and no way does he fit the definition of a trader. >> why? >> because i think he wants the best for his county tr. this is what i know from what's come out. >> so, this is your analysis based on the news. >> based on the news. when i read that what we saw he thought was almost criminal and the video he takes credit for having released to a friend of his at least, of what was called the collateral murder of the reuters newspaper man, looked like a war crime. he said he saw much like that and the stuff he said should be
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known to americans, not just held by people like him in the military. i recognize that point of view and when he said to his associate, i'm ready to go to prison for life or even be executed, i haven't read anything like that for 40 years. that's somebody who's in the same state of mind as i was 40 years ago and i represent him for it. >> my final and brief question to you is do you believe what he is doing is as relevant to the war in the middle east? >> it's not the pentagon papers. we need to pentagon papers of afghanistan right now and don't have them. he didn't have access to them. there are operational deals which reveal a great deal of killings of iraqis or afghanistan people. a lot i think we ought to know about the role of pakistan in that war, what i've read so far
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the "times" and other papers, is information that i think the public should have had. i think he was right to be being willing to pay a very heavy personal cost, which he probably will pay. i admire very much the fact he was patriot enough to do that. >> thank you for sharing your time and point of view with us. daniel ellsberg, pentagon papers. just ahead here, the debut of our special 2010 election panel. i give you the e-team. from nancy pelosi, the wicked witch in politics, to the age of iphone and twitter. i'll name names after this. we're back right after this. [ animals calling ] ♪ [ pop ] [ man ] ♪ well, we get along ♪ yeah, we really do - ♪ and there's nothing wrong - [ bird squawks ] ♪ with what i feel for you
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you've heard of the a-team. we now present the e-team. our election panel counting you down to the midterms each tuesday from now until election day on november 2nd. we'll be gathering the best political minds to break town the party politics and follow the money trail and give you the latest pulse of the american electorate. our numbers guy, oh, the music was timed perfectly. i should get a raise for that. nate silver. our money man, jimmy williams. he is shameless and unabashed.
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he will lobby for anyone at any time as long as you pay him. and our partisan democratic strategist and old friend of the morning meeting, karen finney. on the right, a new friend. frank donatelli, chairman of gopac. that's why you're the political guy. one word. like to drive a go cart. let's start in delaware. we talked about this yesterday. if you're not filled in on this, there's a senate race in delaware for what will be an empty seat, i believe. again, as we've seen in other states, tea party versus incumbent gop. it goes a little bit like this. >> bottom line is if she's nominated, republicans lose the election automatically. that's simple. >> those so-called experts said
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that i would never get this far. we have a winning message. >> nate, how much trouble is the gop in in delaware by allowing the incumbent republican to become as vulnerable as he has become? >> it's about as close as you can come to throwing away his senate seat where if castle wins, probably a 90% favor to beat the democrat, but if o'donnell wins, she's down by 15 or so, that's a really tough deficit to overcome. so they go from having a 90% chance to a 10%, it's a big gamble to take and we'll see what happens tonight. >> frank, is the tea party loading the gop gun with blanks? >> you know, i say to my republican friends that we can either have a small party that's very homogenous and i prefer the
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latter. i want to govern. i want republicans of all stripes. >> hold on. what do you mean when you say republicans of all stripes? >> i mean that all republicans don't have to agree on everything. we have common principles we agree on especially with regard to fiscal policy and national defense. but there's a lot of room for general disagreement. >> the whole rise of the tea party movement was a movement that said the traditional con servement movement wasn't doing its job. now you see within the republican party, the tea part faction, the mainstay republicans. the argument, we're going to lose this seat, voters don't seem to care. >> when you look at sort of the wrecklessness, because nate will do this analysis and i know you
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guys do this analysis, who's electable, how many seats, enlightened self-interest here, we're throwing them out. >> the american people are actually smart and they're fed up. this is interesting. frank made a good point. it's simple. eight years under the rule of george w. bush, there were 13 appropriations bills every single year and not one single one of those did he ever veto. of that time, six years were controlled by the republicans in congress. now, someone explain to me where fiscal conservatism came in over those years. i didn't see it. second thought. when it comes to the tea party, there is no such thing as the tea party. this is the far right wing of the republican party. >> as defined by social conservatism? >> i think it goes across all spectrums. i think these people were fed up four years ago, two years ago,
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six years ago and didn't say a word until a democrat got into the white house. >> you agree, frank? >> i guess i would disagree. i don't think the movement is as idea logical as you say. it's more inside versus outside. for the reasons you said, they are very, very upset with rap republicans and democrats of all stripes and they are hook lg for major change. >> but at the oend end of the day, is the tea party loading the gop gun with blanks come november? >> in alaska, i think they'll have a more conservative candidate. rubio turned out to be great. but engineel in nevada, here in delaware, they're starting to take candidates not just a little eccentric, or have views pretty far outside the mainstre mainstream. >> but essentially, the strategy
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is to send out babysitters. the big money's interest that supports -- but their strategy has been to send a babysitter out, one for engel, mr. miller, and just sit on them. >> the bottom line is that state after state, republican turnout has spiked this year. >> against oh other republicans. zb but they'll be with us in november. >> i don't know that you'll get the independent vote either given the extremism. >> i think that's probably a true statement, frank. but on november 3rd, we're going to have possibly two new republicans that will be sitting in the united states senate, perhaps mark kirk of illinois, a moderate, barack obama's former seat. then possibly christine o'donnell or mr. mike castle of delaware.
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another moderate. i would be very interested to see how jim demint -- mitch mcconnell, he's a republican leader at this point. his former chief of staff, steve law, runs the largest -- one of the largest tea party groups out there. there is no tea party. this is the far right wing of the republican party and come november 3rd, they're going to rule the republican party. stripes and stars. that will be a very interesting party to look at. >> you mentioned a couple of moderates. mark kirk, mike castle. we have a very broad-based party. >> it will be interesting to see how they vote. >> mostly male, very monotone. in hue. >> in hue? a bunch of white guys?
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i think you said the tea party is nothing but a bunch of white guys. >> i think it's more diverse. have you been to a tea party? lots of women, christine, the lady from california, meg whitman is going to be the next governor of california. carly fiorina -- >> come on. >> suzanne martinez who's going to be the next governor of new mexico. marco rubio's going to be in the senate. >> we'll take this up next tuesday. to the wicked witch of the west we go. take a look at the nancy pelosi ads. >> hello, my pretty. i will save you from those evil republicans. but first, pay $18,000 a month for my downtown office. and then go in for wall street
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bailouts. then here are my monkeys to make you pay for it all. >> it's a good ad if nothing else. is pelosi the mark? >> it's the democratic candidates. this is not going to have a role in pelosi's race. she's going to win. i bet you'll see clips of it in other races in the general election being used against democrats in same way democrats are trying to make boehner the bad guy. this is actually nicer than what they've called her in the past, so i guess we should take it. >> she's upgraded to wicked witch. does this sort of halo campaigning work? whether it's republicans and -- excuse me, democrats and boehner, republicans and pelosi? >> i think this particular ad was kind of funny. >> but it was entertaining. >> i laughed. i think we have to be careful about not kind of counting their chickens too much and not app r
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appearing to arrogant. they put out one saying we're winning here and here. that might appeal to insiders like me who are like wow, you're winning in a lot of places, but to voters, it seems a little arrogant. 2012 might be a great year for democrats only because we'll be so bad for them because we have nowhere to go but up. >> let's talk about that quickly. it's been effective. nancy campaigning, unfortunately, i think we'll see more of it. one of the things i think people learned from john mccain's primary race, dirty campaigning and throwing a lot of money at your opponent works. >> not when you're winning. they're basically winning. >> i don't think anybody wants to take anything for franted if they've been paying attention this primary season, just throw money at it. define your opponent. >> but republicans have to
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mention that you believe they do and that the polls they suggest exist, are they shooting themselves in the foot when they have -- or do you agree with karen? >> if there's going to be an ugly win this year, it's going to be harry reid. republicans would be best advised to talk about the issues. they're all there for us. big government, high taxes, huge deficits. a high unemployment. these are the things i hope our party's going to be talking about. >> do you agree those issues are there for the republicans? >> i think they are for the republicans this year and the democrats last two cycles. in a way, i guess i'm -- i'll take short-term pain for long-term gain. if that means electing nut bags from the right winged republican party, bring them on.
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put them in the senate and watch them rule like crazy. barack obama will win with 67% of the vote. >> frank? >> if the -- look, if the president president's unemployment numbers are -- he's projecting 9% for next year, he runs for -- where the action. >> in other words, oh, well, jobs, jobs, jobs, does it -- >> if obama were running against sarah palin, about a 38% approval rating. if christine o'donnell wins in delaware tonight, does that mean sarah palin will win in 2012 in the primary or does it mean that if she were to win but lose the general election, that's a
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warning to them. we have to be more careful about who we nominate. >> last word. >> i just don't think that's the way they think. i think barack obama will be re-elected in part because the republican party is not running broad-based campaigns. >> you guys up for doing this on tuesday's going forward? >> i love breakfast. >> i don't think like that. >> i'm not a morning person. morning meeting, you would know that. you and frank can have breakfast. he's just getting used to shaving and wearing clothing again. and humans. it is a delight to have you guys on set here. coming up, on "hardball,"
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chris matthew. more on today's primaries and a look at a possible l test on don't ask, don't tell. but first, our so-called friends in saudi arabia, the fact no one in saudi arabia is allowed to own a home. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 what if every atm was free? tdd# 1-800-345-2550 no more $2, $3 fees. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 no more paying to access your own money. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 it'd be like every atm in the world was your atm. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 the schwab bank high yield investor checking(tm) account. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 zero atm fees. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 a great interest rate. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 no minimums. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 the biggest thing in checking since checks. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 open an account at 1-800-4schwab or schwab.com. words alone aren't enough. my job is to listen to the needs and frustrations
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of the shrimpers and fishermen, hotel or restaurant workers who lost their jobs to the spill. i'm iris cross. bp has taken full responsibility for the clean up in the gulf and that includes keeping you informed. our job is to listen and find ways to help. that means working with communities. restoring the jobs, tourist beaches, and businesses impacted by the spill. we've paid over $400 million in claims and set up a $20 billion independently-run claims fund to cover lost income until people impacted can get back to work. and our efforts aren't coming at tax-payer expense. i know people are wondering-- now that the well is capped, is bp gonna meet its commitments? i was born in new orleans. my family still lives here. i'm gonna be here until we make this right.
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we're back with a follow up on a story we brought you monday. outrage over the arms deal with
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our so-called saudi arabian allies. jake hugher is here today with another daily rant. >> all right. thank you. the saudis look like they're going to get a $60 billion weapons deal from the united states. they're going to have 84 new f-15 fighters. upgrading 70 of those. three different kinds of helicopters. 70 apaches, 72 black hawks and 76 little birds. either way, the saudis get all this stuff. they paid for it and the money goes to our defense contractors. let's look at the record of saudi arabia and see if that makes sense. when you look at what they've done over the last ten years, those terrorists were from saudi arabia. osama bin laden is from saudi
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arabia. the people who funded the sunni insurgents who attacked our troops in iraq, from saudi arabia and the fundamentalist islam being taught all over the world from saudi arabia. does this mean we shouldn't do any business with saudi arabia? to be fair, they kicked out osama bin laden. no, this isn't about that. this is about how our government works and if you're friendly with our contractors, wrou get the goods. if you don't want to do business with us, you get invaded. on 9/11, you know what iraq had to do with 9/11? nothing. this is the relationship. none. zero. zilch. squat. nothing. nothing to do with 9/11. meanwhile, saudi arabia, 15 out
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of 19 guys. more important, when we were fighting in iraq, the sunni insurgents were being funded by saudi arabia. our government said that. $25 million in one case. many more millions in other cases. they're killing our soldiers. we're selling weapons to them. nobody mentioned that. we don't do business with hussein. then look at the ground zero mosque nonsense. imam is reasonable, trying to spread tolerance, meanwhile, the saudis spread throughout the world. what happens? they get a $60 billion weapons deal. our government is entirely bought. it's bought by the defense contractors, multinational
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corporations and our foreign policy is not related to logic or reason or our national security interests. it's related to the money. that's what's getting this deal as well as the rest of those decisions. >> if you look at this and i don't know to the extent of which you've had the ability to go into it, but is there any apparent leverage? an alternative path. >> look, here's what i would have done in the past and what's going to get done in the future. i would focus on the real problem. we should have never invaded iraq and we should have asked the saudis. you're going to crack down on these schools and no fundamentalist nonsense out there, otherwise, you're going to have trouble with us. not just for the past, but for the future. we're not going to give you $60 billion in weapons unless you get serious about